Packing Essentials for Your Solo Adventure
By Oscar Davis
There are many things associated with solo travel. Backpacking, hostels, adventure, finding oneself – there are a lot of stereotypes about traveling by oneself, and some of them are even true!
Cruises aren’t usually thought of as a classic way of traveling alone, but a solo cruise can be a liberating and enriching experience. Soaking up the Southern Caribbean sun by boarding a cruise on your own is a fantastic way to enjoy tropical paradise, luxury, and your own company, getting all the wonderful benefits a cruise brings but without any of the compromises that traveling with someone else involves.
As with any other form of solo travel, however, cruising alone requires careful planning. It is vitally important to pack everything you need as a solo traveler, to ensure you are prepared for anything, particularly as you are less likely to be able to rely on a traveling partner to have packed things you might be missing!
So if you are heading off on a blissful Caribbean cruise and want to ensure your experience is as smooth and seamless as possible, here’s a comprehensive packing list for your dream holiday to guide you on your way.
Clothes tend to make up the vast majority of what you will pack on any vacation. Cruises are unique adventures and require a particular collection of outfits in order to help you make the most of your trip.
No trip to the Caribbean would be complete without plenty of time on the beach and in the sea, to say nothing of sunbathing on deck or lounging by the pool. As a result, solo travelers need to ensure they pack enough swimwear to allow them to always have something on hand when they need a dip. You’ll want to pack at least two swimsuits for beach days and swimming in the pool, as well as light cover-ups for evenings or meal times. It is also worth considering bringing a rash vest or similar, to avoid sunburn.
Light and Breathable Clothing
The weather in the Caribbean is fantastic year-round. The warm, sunny climate is one of the best things about the region, but you need to pack the right clothes. Alongside swimwear and casual beach attire, you’ll want to include plenty of lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen which will help you keep cool when you need to. You probably won’t need sweaters or more than one or two pairs of trousers, but you will need plenty of T-shirts, linen shirts, shorts, or sundresses for daytime excursions.
You might not normally think about taking a suit or a fancy dress on vacation, but cruises are a little different in this respect. Throughout your cruise adventure, there will undoubtedly be one or two formal dinners or upscale events held on the ship that you will want to attend, and you will definitely want to dress the part! So make sure you pack a couple of elegant outfits to wear, with comfortable yet stylish shoes to match.
When you aren’t living it up in style at a glamorous evening ‘do or soaking up the sun on golden sands, chances are you’ll be taking part in some of the variety of activities that cruise ships offer, or venturing off on shore excursions to explore the amazing destinations you visit. For this, you’ll need comfortable, practical casual wear you can spend all day in and still feel fresh.
Comfortable walking shoes, shorts with plenty of pockets, and the aforementioned lightweight T-shirts are vital and will help you enjoy all the experiences your cruise has to offer.
Of course, a vacation isn’t just about lazing around doing nothing. If you are a keen runner or a gym fanatic, or just don’t want to let your fitness routine slip, then keeping up with your workouts on your cruise adventure is a must. Plus, as a solo traveler, exercise classes and activities can be a great way to meet people and make new friends.
If you do intend to exercise while on your cruise, you’ll need to make sure you pack the necessary workout gear and accessories.
Your running or gym shoes are a given, and you’ll need a few changes of workout attire, so you can alternate while used clothes are washed! If you like to practice yoga or pilates, bring a travel mat so you can stay up-to-date with your routines.
The Caribbean climate is warm and sunny, but when night falls it can get fresh, particularly when you take the sea breezes into account. A light jacket or sweater is a great option for cooler evenings, or just to wear when the air-conditioned areas on the ship get a little too chilly!
With clothing taken care of, it is important to think about the accessories you will need to make your solo cruise adventure go smoothly.
Staying safe and protected from the intense heat of the Caribbean sun is a must. Even on cloudier days, the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn and skin damage, so covering up and using plenty of sunscreen is a must. Make sure you pack plenty of high-SPF sunscreen, as well as considering beauty products with an SPF as well. Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are a great idea as well.
Being on a cruise means spending loads of time in and around water, so pack accordingly. A waterproof phone pouch is a fantastic idea to help keep your phone safe on shore excursions and on beach days, and you might want to consider other waterproof items like bags and camera covers. Many destinations in the Caribbean have amazing coral reefs and rich marine ecosystems, which are well worth exploring, so think about bringing a snorkel mask, a snorkel, and fins so you can get beneath the waves!
Daypack or Beach Bag
One of the best things about a cruise as a solo traveler is the ability to head off on any shore excursions you feel like, and fully explore the ports and countries you visit along the way. In order to do this, a small daypack for carrying essentials is one of the most important things you can bring with you. It is also worth bringing a water-resistant beach bag for your towel, sunscreen, and other beach day necessities, so you can set off for a day of relaxing sun worship whenever you feel the need.
Safety and Health
Traveling alone is a thrill, but it is important to remember that staying safe abroad is incredibly important. Cruises are comfortable and secure, but there are still a few safety and health precautions it is worth taking, and a few essential items it is important to throw in your luggage.
Travel insurance is a must for any trip abroad. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage that includes health emergencies, lost luggage, and trip cancellations. This means that even in the worst-case scenarios, you’ll be protected from financial repercussions.
First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit is always worth having to hand. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but having basic supplies like gauze, pain relief, seasickness meds, bandages, and band-aids means that bumps, scrapes, and bruises are only minor nuisances.
If you take regular prescription medication it is very important that you have an adequate supply. It may be hard or even impossible to find pharmacies that will be able to fulfill your prescriptions when you are abroad. Even so, bring copies of your prescriptions as well, just in case.
Motion Sickness Remedies
Cruise ships are generally smooth sailing, but they do occasionally hit choppy waters or encounter strong winds. Equally, for some people, just the gentle rocking of the ship on the move can cause nausea. Over-the-counter motion sickness pills or special pressure wristbands can be a great help in controlling or preventing the symptoms of seasickness and will help avoid any unfortunate moments.
Tech and Entertainment
While cruises are full of exciting activities and plenty of things to do, there will be occasions when you want to entertain yourself. Bringing your personal entertainment technology is a great idea for a solo traveler on a cruise.
A quality camera is an essential part of any solo traveler’s luggage. It will allow you to capture the magic and keep memorable moments during your cruise for all time.
E-reader or Books
Long hours by the pool or on the beach are the perfect time to catch up on your reading, so come prepared. Load up your e-reader with a few choice novels, or bring a few paperback books if you prefer physical copies.
If you like to enjoy music or films in your cabin during your trip, then it is worth bringing noise-canceling headphones. Bluetooth speakers are also a nice idea for adding a little atmosphere to days at the beach or by the pool.
Take a look at where you will be stopping during the course of the cruise, and what the power outlet situation is like. Make sure you bring the right adapters so you can charge your devices on board and in the different ports you visit.
Running out of battery can be a huge pain when you are on the move. If you like to stay connected, listen to music on shore excursions, or take plenty of smartphone pics, then a power bank is a great way to ensure you don’t end up with a drained battery before you get back to your cabin to charge your devices.
Toiletries are some of the most essential things to bring with you on any vacation, but are also the easiest to forget! Here are a few of the most important things to remember to put in your washbag.
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, moisturizer, toothpaste, and scent, all in travel-sized containers for convenience. Don’t forget to bring your toothbrush, your shaving kit, and any other thing you will need during your getaway.
Stay hydrated and be sustainable while on the beach or out on shore excursions with a reusable water bottle, ideally one with a built-in filter so you don’t have to worry about the water quality.
Bring a travel pillow and blanket with you so you can get some rest wherever you are.
Keep your belongings safe when you are at the beach with a dry bag, and bring another fabric bag for separating clean and dirty laundry.
You will need a number of official documents as a solo traveler. Firstly, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan to return home. Secondly, bring originals and copies of all your reservation details and boarding passes, as well as any visas that might be required to visit the ports on your itinerary.
Make sure you have a driver’s license or some other form of identification so that you don’t have to take your passport everywhere you go. It is also worth packing a list of all your emergency contacts and any relevant medical information, just in case.
Putting your luggage together for a solo Caribbean cruise does require some thought, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful activity. With the guide above you’ll be well-prepared for whatever awaits you on your Caribbean adventure!
Oscar Davis is a freelance writer who travels often to Greece and lives in Leeds, England.